We celebrated spring through our investigations and renderings of spring plants and vegetables. I brought in emerging plants from my garden and lots of spring produce. We studied okra, fresh chick peas in their pods, radicchio, pea pods, asparagus stalks and bok choy. Some classes noticed the printmaking materials, and requested this as their art process. Other classes worked with pencil, pen, gouache and watercolors. We began by planning our compositions using thumbnail sketches, and then each Stage III artist chose a size and shape of bristol paper. As we worked, we discovered many amazing details and qualities of these natural objects and learned several brush, painting and printmaking techniques. The beauty and freshness of this most welcome season (especially this year!) is reflected in the children's art.
Dianne and I designed our Wonderings class to prompt critical and creative thinking among the children. Focusing on the natural world of the outdoors, we first gathered questions regarding our observations of the creek, trees, plants and other natural elements. Rather than go straight to the Internet to answer our "wonderings", we took the time to study our discoveries and used both the process of illustration and the scientific method to find information. Fusing art and science processes enriched and informed our studies. Some of questions included:
Why does the creek run so fast?
Where do those large rocks come from, and how old are they?
Why are barks from different trees patterned and textured differently?
We spent our last day of this class viewing our accordion books filled with illustrations, sharing our discoveries, and eating strawberry shortcake! It was a great way to end our year.
Inspired by Manny's love of cartooning, we ended our year of Class Art exploring this genre of art. We looked at slides of cartoons through history; we talked about the way people have been expressing their thoughts through pictures since the time of cave art. Each Stage III artist sketched characters and invented plot lines. Using cartooning bristol and pens, we began by penciling in our cartoons and then inked them with cartooning felt-tipped pens. The addition of color with choices of materials was optional.
Thoughts on Artful Thinking and Summer
I believe the outdoors and trips to cities provide wonderful opportunities for artful thinking. As you walk the beach, hike in the woods or visit a city this summer, I encourage you to take the time to examine the shells and stones, investigate leaves and bark or visit a gallery or museum. I often tell the story of how my children learned to walk in the Rivera Court of the DIA. During some visits, we didn't get past the Court, except to visit the cafe. Letting a child decide which area of a museum or gallery to explore is often the key to a fun visit. Taking some time to truly look, ask questions and tell stories about the art can lead to wonderful conversations and truly powerful thinking. Fostering your child's sense of wonder makes life more enriching for all of us!